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Ana Sayfa Haberler 1st Europe Turkey Forum : Debate Summaries

1st Europe Turkey Forum : Debate Summaries

Turkey and the European Integration


Moderator Pawel Lisicki, Editor-in-Chief, "Rzeczpospolita" daily
Yasar Yakis, Chairman of the Harmonization Committee, Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Adrian Severin, Chairman of the EU-Ukraine Delegation, European Parliament, Romania
Mumtaz Soysal, columnist, "Cumhuriyet" daily, Former Minsiter of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
Andrzej Ananicz, Head of Diplomatic Academy in Warsaw

Yasar Yakis:
Turkey has been running harmonization processes aimed at compliance with the EU standards for twelve years. Some states which have succeeded in joining the EU had not been ready for that. French approach towards the issue of our accession undermines the atmosphere in Turkey. We cannot predict whether Turkish society will be enthusiastic to join the EU in the future. It is not the leaders but the institutions, whom we are negotiating with.

Adrian Severin:
The enlargement is the reconciliation of the European history and geography. We must determine the future of Europe. The question is, whether it is justified to base the European identity on religion? The answer is “No, it is not.” Europe has been built on secularism. European culture is said to be of secular nature. In this respect, the accession of Turkey would be greatly desirable for Europe. Another issue is geopolitical identity. We do not want to be a local player, but the global one. The accession of Turkey could transformation of the European Union into a global player. Global Europe is inevitable. Transfer of western models to Islamic society has been discredited long time ago. Islam needs to be reformed from inside and Turkey would be an ideal intermediary.

Mytmaz Soysal:
The Turkish perspective is stamped with uncertainty. The integration process is full of uncertainties. The analysis of the European relations embodies the image of the entire state’s transformation. As a young man I shared the views expressed by the supporters of the European perspective for Turkey. That conformed to what happened just afterwards.
There was plenty of enthusiasm for the reforms. The perspective of Turkish accession was close, since the promise was made; however, forty years have passed and nothing changed. We keep hearing new promises and commitments at each stage.
We need a new status – a privileged partnership between Turkey and Europe. Turkey must develop new relations and not let Europe impose its will upon the state.

Andrzej Ananicz:
Turkey is actually disillusioned, although the accession remains the only alternative. The negotiations, in the case of Poland as well, tended to be difficult. Not only will Turkey need to be enthusiastic for the united Europe, but the EU itself will need to be credible for Turkey. Indeed, the European boundaries stretch, where the nations find to be a part of Europe. The candidate states should participate in the decision process in the second pillar, which is the foreign policy.


Turkey as a Bridge between East and West and its Role in the EU’s Energy Security

Moderator: Timothy Krysiek, Associate, Cambridge Energy Research Associates,
Afifi Demirkiran, Member of Parliament, Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Laura Froner, Deputy Chairwoman, Committee of Productive Activity, Italian Chamber of Deputies
Igor Tomberg, Professor in Oriental studies, MGIMO
Mehmet Kaplan, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Ugur Ozgoker, Associate Professor, Kadir Has University

Timothy Krysiek
Turkey, which has a strategic position as an energy transit state is, likewise the European Union, struggling to ensure energy security for itself. What can Turkey do to attract the investors to the so-called “fourth corridor” proposed as a form of diversification of gas supply? How Botas, the main player in the energy market in Turkey is going to run its policy in the region?
How will the financial crisis affect the Turkey’s geopolitical situation? These were the key questions focused on during the discussion.

Laura Froner
I believe that by 2012, 70% of the energy supplies transferred to Europe will stream through Turkey. Due to lack of stability in the region of North Caucasus and exhaustion of transit capacity of the Bosporus Strait, opening of another corridor stretching through the territory of Turkey is of immense importance for Europe and the idea of diversification of energy sources.

Igor Tomberg
The conflict in South Ossetia in August this year proved that South and Eastern Europe is heavily depended on geopolitical situation in Caucasus. In July 2008, the Deputy Chairman of Gazprom visited Turkey to consider a crucial project of gas supply from Russia. Such meetings indicate increased cooperation between Turkey and Russia in the field of gas supply.
Turkey is interested in obtaining gas from Iran. Nabucco will cease to exist without supplies from this region. The European Union should also weigh up the issue of procuring gas from Iran, even despite the American viewpoints.

Adam Loewe
Turkey is rich in resources, but it is also situated close to 72% of global gas resources and 73 % of global crude oil resources as well as near Europe. This determines the strategic position of Turkey. Such activities as underground gas storage co-funded by the World Bank may additionally strengthen the role of Turkey.


The Black Sea Region

Moderator: Philip Robbins, Faculty Fellow, Departament of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University
Adrian Severin: Chairman of the EU-Ukraine Delegation, European Parliament
Sukru Elekdag: Member of Parliament, Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Mykhailo Gonchar: Director of Energy Programme, NOMOS Center for Studies on Geopolitical Problems and Euro-Atlantic Cooperation in Black Sea Region
Erhan Buyukakinci: Professor, Galatsaray University
Rafet Candemir: Director of Pro Euro/Green Party, City of Stockholm

Adrian Severin:
Black Sea region is the concept coined for the geopolitical convenience. The term mean a group of states who share some characteristics e.g. geographical location, although they are enormously diverse. The region is encircled by countries interested in this area. This is a marginal place for global players. The main actors include European Union, Turkey and Russia. These states should form a triangle to shape a coherent policy towards the region.

Sukru Elekdag:
The European Union, first and foremost, intends to develop a free trade area comprising six countries of the region. The EU must understand that it needs Nabucco, so that Russia would not be able to jeopardize the former’s energy security. The EU demonstrated its weakness in the area of common energy policy. We should not push ahead with the accession of Ukraine to NATO, so as to avoid reoccurrence of the Georgian scenario.

Mykhailo Gonchar:
The EU has got a document touching upon the Black Sea Synergy; nevertheless, the EU fails to appreciate the meaning of the Region. Being slow to discern the significance of the area will affect the EU itself. The EU should not let the transport routes fall under the control of a third party. “Balticization” of the Black Sea i.e. embodiment of cooperation among the EU and non-EU states which have access to the Black Sea is regarded as an excellent variant.

Erhan Buyukakinci:
To be the major player in the region, the European Union must cooperate with the neighbouring states, independently of the United States. Russia needs to be involved in cooperation on the Region’s policy. It is the leading actor in the Black Sea region in the field of energy. The role of Turkey in the Black Sea region is considerable, since it participates in all major projects.
Russia will soon become the key business partner for Turkey.

Rafet Candemir:
While forcing the energy policy, one must not forget the human dimension. We should not fail to remember about the suffering of Chechens, Georgians and Caucasians. The region lacks security, which should be widely discussed in Europe. Turkey guarantees security in the region.

Marzenna Guz – Vetter:
Synergy was necessary, since after accession of Romania and Bulgaria, Black Sea represented 100km of the European Union’s boundaries. The EU adopts two approaches towards the region: Neighbourhood Policy and Black Sea Synergy. We should consider further cross-border cooperation with the region, which may contribute great added value to the Community.

Ibrahim Canbolat:
In the case of Turkey, the negotiation process is essential for the EU owing to security considerations. In addition, Turkey’s activity in the field of religious culture dissemination is crucial for diminishing the risks of terrorism. Turkey is the bridge above all religious divisions.


The Role of Turkey on EU-NATO Relations

Moderator: Lutfi Cirakoglu, Member of the Grand National Assembly
Bernard Durkan, Chairman of the joint Committee on European Affairs, Irish Parliament
Constantin Degeratu, National Security Adviser to the President of Romania
Gareth Jenkins, Analyst, Journalist, Jamestown Foundation
Umit Pamir, Retired Ambassador of Turkey
Ilter Turan, Professor, Bigli University

Lutfi Cirakoglu:
Turkey is a strategic partner for NATO and it may boast significant involvement in peacekeeping worldwide. The important role of Turkey as a mediator in Kosovo or most recently during the conflict between Russia and Georgia must not be disregarded.

Bernard Durkan:
The role of the European Union must be redefined – we need to go back to the original vision of the Founding Fathers. I am convinced that Ireland will soon ratify the Treaty; however, this should not be achieve under compulsion. The decision must be an informed one and it must be encourage by the society. Poland benefits from the EU aid, just as Ireland once did. Turkey is also going to take the advantage of the support offered by the EU membership.

Constantin Degeratu:
Turkey is an immensely important player in the Black Sea region, which generates €2.5 billion GDP and accounts for a half of the present EU area. As far as relations with NATO are concerned, Turkey plays a key role within the emergency management mechanism, in particular with regard to NATO operations in the Middle East. Turkey demonstrates strong involvement in the struggle against global terrorism.
The EU needs membership of Turkey, which should become a legitimate EU member as soon as possible.

Gareth Jenkins:
The question of North Cyprus must not be frozen. We must take specific measures in order to handle the issue. The military circles in Turkey, which has the largest army in Europe, are especially sceptical towards the European aspirations. This fuels the suspicion that when NATO’s activities come within reach of Turkey’s boundaries, Turkey exhibits certain resistance against full involvement within the pact.

Umit Pamir:
The EU does not take Turkey into account as far as the process of developing European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) is concerned and rejects its role as a consultant. This approach must be changed.

Ilter Turan:
The cooperation with the American partner deserves particular attention in NATO-related issues. Turkey is accused of unjustified sensitivity and there are no incentives for the “new member”. Meanwhile, it is of utmost importance to maintain beneficial relations with neighbours and not just focus on the EU defensive activities. We should cooperate closely in the fight against global terrorism.

Igor Torbakow:
Turkey wants to defend its interests in the region, it wants to be discernible in the political scene and to act freely on the economic level. Russia-Turkey relations form a complex combination of cooperation and confrontation. There is no evidence that the above will change in the forthcoming years.

Alfred Reisch:
A lack of pro-European direction may bring the reforms to a standstill and Turkey lacks explicit political strategy.

Economic Potential of Turkey and EU’s Common Market

Moderator: Uluc Ozulker, Retired Ambassador, Turkey
Mithat Melen, Member of Parliament, Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Anastasios Giannitsis, Professor of Economics, University of Athens, Greece
Joel Hasse Ferreira, MEP, Portugal Member of the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, European Parliament
Vitalia Pavlicenco, Member of Parliament, Moldova
Adam Hug, Foreign Policy Centre, Policy Director, United Kingdom
Can Baydarol, Professor, Istanbul Kultur University, Turkey
Charles Kovacs, Vice Chairman, Committee on Non-Member Economies, Business and Indusry Advisory Committee to the OECD, Hungary
Cuneyt Yuksel, Member of Parliament, Turkey
Deniz McDonald, Expert, Centre for EU Enlargement Studies, Hungary

Uluc Ozulker:
In the context of Turkey’s economic potential, it is worth to ask whether we can refuse it the EU membership.
Demography: Young society of Turkey and the EU societies getting older.
The EU expects Turkey to comply with all conditions before it can join the EU, which translates into higher requirements than in the case of other states accepted to the EU. Turkey is looking forward to pre-accession assistance.
Is it possible for Turkey to fulfil all obligations resulting from the Customs Union without Turkey’s participation in the decision process?

Mithat Melen:
There has been limited progress throughout 36 years of negotiations. As far as certain economic indicators are concerned, Turkey simply overtakes some new Member States. Trade with Europe accounts for half of the Turkey’s GDP. For many countries, Turkey is one of the most important trade partners. Therefore, it is difficult to understand the discussions on alternatives to the European integration of Turkey.
Negotiations in certain fields e.g. agriculture, finance or regional policy have recently been frozen. We lack open debates on the most crucial aspects with our key partners in Europe.

Joel Hasse Ferreira:
German and French labour markets would not operate without immigrants from Turkey; therefore, we indisputably need unambiguous vision and policy in the area of labour markets. The role of Turks on the EU labour markets is unquestionable, since they are skilled and appreciated employees. Many young Turks study at European and American universities. This means that well-educated human resources in Turkey will boost the competitiveness of the Turkey’s economy.

Cuneyt Yuksel:
Since the economic crisis of 2001, there were implemented thorough structural reforms in agriculture, energy industry, social insurance, telecommunications and financial markets. Currently, Turkish economy is fully integrated with the global market. In spite of the global crisis, Turkey may boast fairly advantageous demographic situation. The economic exchange with other regions of the world is favourable as well.
We need structural funds for the pre-accession adaptation.
During the recent G20 Summit, the attendants claimed the need for an international coordination of activities. It is very important that Turkey should participate in decision-making process; therefore more frequent Turkey-Europe consultations are needed.

Vitalia Pavlicenco:
Since the beginning of 1990s, the relations between Turkey and Moldova have been developing very dynamically. We appreciate the initiatives aimed at strengthening the EU policies with respect to the Eastern neighbours. The economic cooperation has been developing very well and the Turkish investments in Moldova as well as municipal projects funded with Turkish credit institutions are of huge importance. The autonomous region of Gagausia is inhabited by a significant Turkish minority and many students learn in Turkey.

Anastasios Giannitis:
Although I am an economist, it is difficult for me to separate political and geopolitical aspects from economy. Previous waves of enlargement were inspired rather by politics than by economy; nonetheless, the implementation of acquis communaitaure is indispensable. This process affected Greece and Turkey is also going to face this issue. Intensification of negotiations took place after 2004 i.e. after controversies related to the issue of Cyprus joining the EU.
The problems touched upon during negotiations relate to practical matters, while the disputes concerning the EU as a Christian Club are of abstractive nature. For political and geopolitical reasons, Turkey cannot accept acquis communaitaure as a whole. In addition, one may notice discouragement towards European integration in Turkey and the mistrust in the EU intentions. The entire process will take a long time, whereas its results are not determined in advance.

Can Baydarol:
Following the collapse of communism, global paradigms have changed. Another change took place after 2001. The current crisis may be inciting another alteration of the paradigms.
70% of foreign investments come from Europe. We have a customs union and an associating agreement. For Turkey, the problem is lack of participation in shaping the customs union and the association relations. The costs of the customs union, mainly transport fees introduced unilaterally by the EU, are nevertheless important for Turkey. The situation seems unfair. Talking about the accession is a good thing; however, at present it is important for Turkey to participate in the decision-making process related to the mutual economic relations.

Charles Kovacs:
The entire process of the accession negotiations is going to take 10-15 years more. Therefore, it is good to freeze some of the negotiated issues, since vital decision need to be made in the field of agriculture or finance. It is inexplicable to say that the customs union is disadvantageous for Turkey. There appropriate procedures which might facilitate transformation of the union or Turkey may simply join another customs union. I believe that the customs union is fairly beneficial for Turkey.
Turkey is facing a feasible opportunity to become a regional financial and economic centre. Young society is a positive value (although all developing economies have young populations and the EU may attract employees from China for that matter, not necessarily from the Islamic world). Turkey enjoys well-deserved reputation of a credible borrower, which ensures continuous access to credits for Turkey.

Adam Hug:
It is indisputable that Europe finds Turkey important in terms of economy, since it is a leading expert in many areas. Turkey is experiencing heavy growth of direct investment, which is fivefold within the range of several recent years, while one third of the funds come from the EU. Since the establishment of the customs union, the trade volume has been tripled. There are also other areas not covered by the customs union (services). In the long-term perspective, if the customs union does not transform into the full membership, this may bring about negative effects for Turkey, which is particularly discernible in the course of the present financial crisis.
At present, it is worth to focus on continuing discussions in particular negotiation areas. Clear-cut measures will refute the arguments put forward by the adversaries of the Turkey’s membership in the EU.


The Role of Turkey in South-Eastern Europe and the Middle East

Mustafa Ozturk, Member of the EU Harmonization Committee, Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Neven Mimica, Deputy Speaker, Chairman of the European Integration Committee, Parliament of Croatia
Vahan Hovhannesyan, Member of Parliament, Armenia
Jan Truszczynski, Deputy Director General, DG Enlargement, European Commission, Poland
Sule Kut, Professor, Bilgi University, Turkey
Cuneyt Yenigun, Professor, Istanbul Kultur University, Turkey
Theodossis Georgiu, President, Greek Association for Atlantic an European Cooperation, Greece

Neven Mimica:
Turkey demonstrates tolerance towards all ethnic groups inhabiting its territory. It may play a vital role in Northern Iraq and should support democratic reconstruction of the country. Unfortunately, certain European states support Turkish terrorist organizations.

Vahan Hovhannesyan:
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Turkey has been refusing to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia and has been encouraging regional projects targeted at isolation of Armenia. The developments of August this year showed how fragile and short-lived are these actions, because they are taken without Armenia. Considering new reality, Turkey put forward an initiative to establish Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform. However, lack of diplomatic relations with Armenia makes the initiative look insincere. If Turkey does strive for normalization in this respect, it must adopt the truth about its history and acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23.

Jan Truszczynski:
The role of the European Commission is not to impose a specific model of foreign policy on Turkey. Brussels, nevertheless, appreciates the positive role of Turkey in the dialogue between Israel and Palestine as well as during the recent Lebanese conflict.

Sule Kut:
Turkey is a European country which crosses three circles: the Mediterranean, the Balkans and the Middle East. Although it is not an EU Member State, it participates in all European initiatives (the Middle East, international peacekeeping missions). Owing to its vast territory, Turkey may become one of the leading EU states. Thus, it may play a crucial role within the framework of states forming the Community.

Theodossis Georgiou:
There are different positive steps between Greece and Turkey in the South Eastern Europe, honoring the “rapprochement” process between the two countries. The Confidence-Building Measures (or CBM’s) build a promotion of Security and Stability in the region.
Turkey’s Geographical position offers a crucial role also in the Middle East.
Concerning the Union for the Mediterranean, development of the Euro Mediterranean partnership, both Greece and Turkey should cooperate in that process of European Union and additionally in the framework of “Mediterranean Dialogue” for which NATO gives a vital role.
The examples of Sweden and Poland into the EU, shows how to take visionary initiatives between Greece, Turkey and why not, Cyprus, on the way to Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

Cuneyt Yenigun:
The road of Turkey to Europe goes through Balkans. This region connects and brings Turkey closer to Europe.


Turkey and European Identity

Moderator Ahmet Altiparmak, Governor of Mulga
Tadeusz Iwiñski, Deputy Chairman of EU Committee, Parliament of Poland
Murat Bilhan, Vice Chairman, Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies
Gareth Jones, Reuters, Warsaw Chief Correspondent
Bohdan Cywinski, Professor, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University
Ali Engin Oba, Retired Ambassador, Representative of TASAM
Viktor Nadein-Raevsky, Professor, Institute of World Economy and International Relations
Mustafa Turker Alkan, Columnist, "Radikal" daily

Murat Bilhan:
Turkish identity is partially based on Greek Catholic values. The Mediterranean was under the influence of the Ancient Rome, while the climatic conditions were favourable for dissemination of values to other regions. Did Christian values form common traditions? How can we derive European identity? Who can be included in Pax-Romana civilization? Tolerance of differences, human rights or secularism – this is the answer to the question of the European values. What is the place of Turkey within this system? It is often asked whether present-day Turks are secular enough to be a part of Europe. It may be answered with a question “Is Europe secular enough to adopt Turkey within its community?”

Tadeusz Iwinski:
Europe and Turkey shared their boundaries for 300 years. Except for the Battle of Vienna, the relations between Poland and Turkey were proper. Throughout their entire history, Turks attempted to limit the influence of two factors: the Kurdish issue and nationalist atmosphere. No civilization is better than another. One cannot consider European security without Eurasian factor. Europe is the peninsula of Eurasia; therefore, it should cooperate with the countries of different civilizations.

Gareth Jones:
At present, the relations between the EU and Turkey are influenced by a number of myths and prejudices. Certainly, Europe is facing the problem of perception of Turkey. It is fascinating that Turkey took on an enormous challenge to redefine its identity. Italians and Greeks have more in common with Turks than with the Swedish. The First World War is a distant event for the Europeans, while it played a significant role for the history of Turkey. Membership in NATO, Council of Europe or OECD also indicates common values of Europe and Turkey.

Bohdan Cywinski:
European identity is formed of various identities and values. The differences derive from geographical factors. These differences are also common in Turkey. Contemporary Turkish literature describes differences and conflicts of Turkish identities. Two major tendencies which are functioning at present comprise a tendency to achieve high material status and a tendency to live for values. The first tendency is a market-driven one and is ubiquitous in Europe. The other tendency may be deemed as a more attractive one, but entails conflicts between nations. Integration should comprise both tendencies.

Ali Engin Oba:
There are two viewpoints: one assuming that Turkey is a part of Europe and the other assuming that Turkey is a foreign body within Europe. The first approach presumes that the EU enlargement will enrich the community. The second approach comes down to the belief that Turkey should remain outside the EU boundaries. Europe may continue to be Christian world. There is a question whether Europe wants to build a multi-cultural society. European culture has influenced Turkey to a large extent and still does.

Viktor Nadein-Raevsky:
Europeans have not managed to resolve the dilemma of their own identity and they do not understand the roots of it. They are afraid of Muslims; however, it is too late to isolate from them. It is time to learn to co-exist with them. Coexistence is plausible. We should not repeat Russian mistakes. Europe should be open to new solutions.

Mustafa Turker Alkan:
Culture is an analytical tool. Culture may change. In fact, at present we are witnessing development of the global culture. For the common culture to exist, assimilation is indispensable. As recently as fifty year ago, European culture resembled contemporary Turkish culture.


Direct Foreign Investments: Investment Profiles of Turkey and EU

Moderator: Janusz Lewandowski, Vice Chairman of the European Parliament committee on Budgets, Poland
Zekeriya Akcam, Advisor of the Prime Minister of Turkey
Patrice Lefeu, Chief Executive Officer, LA BAULE – Word Investment Conference, France
Hasan Selcuk, Professor, Marmara University, Turkey

Veysel Ulusoy
, Professor, Bahcesehir University, Turkey
Halil Nadiri, Vice President, Eastern Mediterranean University’s Strategic Research Centre, Turkey

Janusz Lewandowski:
Europe is the no. 1 export market for Turkey. The context of the global crisis is of major importance in this respect.
Adaptation to the European standards is a very frustrating period for every state. We attempt to follow the path of evolution, not revolution. The identities of particular nations enrich Europe. The enlarged Europe will be neither a casual association nor a federation of states.

Zekeriya Akcam:
If the EU is a political alliance, we need to speak less in the categories of a country or a nation. Until recently, Turkey was overwhelmed with technical problems; however, now there are more political issues on the agenda. Within the framework of the Customs Union, Turkey submits management of certain trade agreements to the EU. If we sign trade agreements with third countries, they must be controlled by the EU. As far as direct foreign investments are concerned, Turkish economy demonstrates some trouble areas. Although we cannot boast as effective economy as other states, during WTO meetings we undertake equal challenges, which is burdensome. In the period of the economic crisis of 2001-2002, many private sector companies failed to resist the tension. One of the characteristics of the EU-Turkey economic contacts is that we take all risks that emerge ahead of us.

Patrice Lefeu:
Unlike in Europe, the average age in Turkey is very low. Turkish employees are very well prepared. Business is a natural thing for Turks; establishing our own companies is a part of Turkish culture. This creates favourable conditions for the investors. Low tax rates will facilitate advantageous atmosphere for the investors. Turkey must continue to promote transparency, especially in the public finance sector and fight the corruption.
Turkey may associate its currency with euro by introducing currency parity.
Europe needs Turkey, because with Turkey, Europe may become a global state.

Hasan Selcuk:
Turkish society adopted the western consumer way of thinking, which creates favourable conditions for the investors. Incomes earned by the Turkish society are growing, which translates into increase of the state’s financial strength. The government, financial organizations and non-government organizations want to found a financial centre in Istanbul. The centre is intended to guarantee stabilization for foreign investors. Direct foreign investments in Turkey, nevertheless, inspire the notions which are not approved of by the Turkish society. Purchasing of Turkish companies with long-established traditions by European funds is raising concerns in the Turkish society.





1-2 Aralık 2010